Meek, mild-mannered Richard Lubbock was a middle-class businessman whose only brush with the law had been speeding fines.
That is, until one day police raided his penthouse flat and found Britain’s biggest haul of crystal meth with a street value of £1.5million.
The amazing real-life Breaking Bad story of how a Jewish coin dealer became Britain’s most prolific dealer of the highly addictive drug and a jailbird is now the subject of a book written by Richard’s son James.
Speaking of how he watched his father’s life spiral out of control in a meth-induced haze, James, 41, says: “I still can’t believe it. I couldn’t believe it when it was happening, I just had to try to get through it.
“And now looking back on it, it feels like a surreal nightmare.”
One of those unbelievable moments included, to Richard’s eternal shame, sharing a meth pipe with his son.
The 72-year-old admits he was so out of it himself, he has no recollection of the moment.
Richard says: “The worst part is when I gave him drugs.
“There is nothing worse you can do as a father. But I couldn’t see there was anything wrong with it. It just makes my whole stomach turn over.”
His son’s book, wittily titled Breaking Dad, tells how Richard’s life as a teetotal Tory who lived with wife Marilyn and their privately educated son started to unravel when the couple split in 2003.
But most shocking for James was finding his parents had been living a lie for the past 20 years and were both gay.
Coming out was the catalyst for Richard’s new life. He threw himself into the gay club scene.
Gone were the suits and classical music and in came hard house, baggy trousers, trainers and a shaven head.
James says: “The first thing I noticed was that he started smoking.
“He had always hated cigarettes.”
Richard struggled to talk to men, and found drugs gave him confidence.
He became a pot-smoking, ecstasy-popping clubber and his new friends were soon asking if he could get them drugs too.
Then just as in hit TV drama Breaking Bad, where chemistry teacher Walter White (played by Bryan Cranston) uses his skills to create a mammoth crystal meth lab, Richard used his business acumen to start his drug empire.
After selling his house in Elstree, Herts, Richard bought two penthouse apartments in Limehouse, East London, and started dealing.
He says: “The whole thing went crazy. Friday and Saturday nights I was like a prisoner in my flat as I was so busy. It was ridiculous, I never expected this to happen.”
James adds: “One of the worst moments was when I realised he was a drug dealer.
“He was the moral compass for me.
“He was philanthropic, the most straight person in business, never doing any shady deals. Which is probably what made him almost the perfect drug dealer.”
After Marilyn’s death from cancer, Richard’s drug use and dealing escalated.
James says: “I didn’t realise how much of a rock she was to him until she died. He just went to pieces.
“After mum passed away, he didn’t seem to take any precautions. It was like he was doing it to get caught.”
James tried to get his dad to change, but to no avail.
He says: “I felt the only option I had left was to refuse to see him.
“The other option was to call the police. I felt my dad wouldn’t have survived prison. I felt trapped.”
James kept on seeing his dad and they even smoked crystal meth together.
He adds: “It was quality father and son time. I don’t regret that as I didn’t know how long I had left with him.”
Police raided Richard’s flat in 2009 and found his stash. He admitted dealing and was jailed for eight years.
It meant he missed his son’s wedding day and the birth of grandaughter Mia.
But James insists the arrest is the best thing that happened to his dad.
He adds: “Getting caught saved his life.
“After a few weeks when he called me from prison, he sounded like his normal self again.”
Richard was a model prisoner and he has never shown any interest in drugs since then.
James says the ordeal has even brought them closer together.
- Breaking Dad by James Lubbock published by Mirror Books is out on 25 April
The highs and the very lows
Crystal meth is a form of methamphetamine and affects the brain’s dopamine production which controls emotional responses.
The Class A drug is highly addictive, causing euphoria that can last for up to 12 hours. But comedown symptoms are severe including anxiety and depression.
Long-term use can cause suicidal thoughts, mental health issues and brain damage.
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